A method is presented in satellite altimetry that attempts to simultaneously determine the geoid and sea surface topography with minimum wavelengths of about 500 km and to reduce the radial orbit error caused by geopotential errors. The modeling of the radial orbit error is made using the linearized Lagrangian perturbation theory. Secular and second order effects are also included. After a rather extensive validation of the linearized equations, alternative expressions of the radial orbit error are derived. Numerical estimates for the radial orbit error and geoid undulation error are computed using the differences of two geopotential models as potential coefficient errors, for a SEASAT orbit. To provide statistical estimates of the radial distances and the geoid, a covariance propagation is made based on the full geopotential covariance. Accuracy estimates for the SEASAT orbits are given which agree quite well with already published results. Observation equations are develped using sea surface heights and crossover discrepancies as observables. A minimum variance solution with prior information provides estimates of parameters representing the sea surface topography and corrections to the gravity field that is used for the orbit generation. The simulation results show that the method can be used to effectively reduce the radial orbit error and recover the sea surface topography.